MIT and Elsevier
See also: Get access to Elsevier articles
Why MIT ended its contract with Elsevier
Elsevier is one of the largest publishers of scholarly journals in the world. MIT Libraries have had several discussions with Elsevier about a new journals contract. Guided by the principles of the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts, MIT Libraries sought a contract that would reflect the Institute’s values and needs and preserve our ability to share MIT research openly and equitably with the world.
Despite our best efforts, Elsevier was unable to present a proposal that aligned with the framework. After good faith negotiations, it became clear that Elsevier could not meet our needs, so we ended negotiations at the conclusion of our six-month extension on our contract in June 2020.
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Background on the negotiations
The MIT Libraries have been using the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts to guide negotiations with scholarly publishers since October 2019. The framework affirms the overarching principle that control of scholarship and its dissemination should reside with scholars and their institutions.
Ways in which Elsevier’s 2020 proposal did not align with the framework:
- Elsevier would maintain ownership and restrictive rights over journal articles not covered by an open access publishing agreement. This means that many authors would be required to waive MIT’s open access policy, as well as to give up copyright ownership in their papers.
- Elsevier’s economic model was inequitable and non-transparent. Per-article payments are costly and risk locking out scholars from less-privileged institutions and less well-funded disciplines. There were no clear explanations for how they arrived at their fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
We entered into discussions with Elsevier with the goal to negotiate a contract under the MIT Framework, one that reflects our values and needs and preserves our ability to share MIT research openly with the world. Unfortunately, while we had productive conversations through several rounds, Elsevier was unable to present a proposal that aligned with the principles of the framework.
For access to articles published after December 31, 2019, members of the MIT community have several options. See this page for information.
MIT Libraries has a license that allows MIT researchers to use figures, tables and brief excerpts of works that the MIT Libraries subscribe to in their own scientific, scholarly and educational works.
You can still rely on this license for pre-2020 journals; that is, your right to reuse parts of Elsevier articles is still in effect for all Elsevier journals that we had subscribed to. As of July 1, 2020, this includes most pre-2020 articles.
Page last updated on March 10, 2023